DOZENS of Bromsgrove homes have been left without broadband and landline access for a fortnight following extensive damage to overhead lines as a result of Storm Jocelyn.
Residences along Holmes Lane near Hanbury Woods were left in a black out after damage to BT and Open Reach broadband infrastructure following the adverse weather on January 23.
24 homes were without power for 48 hours and are still without broadband and landline access at the time of writing (February 6). The problem is also believed to have affected 16 homes in Mere Green.
The damage to overhead lines even lead to the collapse of telephone poles and the temporary closure of Holmes Lane.
A resident, speaking on behalf of her Holmes Lane neighbours, told the Standard about elderly and vulnerable residents fearing how they would call for help in an emergency without access to landlines and poor mobile signal in the area.
Other homeowners have had to take their children to friends or family in order for them to access online learning resources and complete homework essential to their studies.
One affected resident, Leslie Jackson told the Standard: “This is a disaster. It’s unacceptable to wait almost three weeks for re-connection.
“It has been nothing but failed promises. Some of the communication from BT has been a joke. According to them, their systems are telling them there’s no problem.
“With BT and Open Reach having to communicate to fix the problem, it feels like the left hand isn’t talking to the right hand.”
Residents have been in touch with local Mid Worcestershire MP, Nigel Huddleston, who has been in touch with the companies to help rectify the problem.
“I can’t help but think our MPs have better things to be doing than pushing BT and Open Reach into gear but Nigel’s secretary has been brilliant,” Leslie added.
A spokesperson for Openreach said:
“Unfortunately, our network was badly damaged here in recent storms.
“Since then, our engineers have been working hard to replace one of the poles, as well as 180 metres of cooper and fibre cables.
“It’s a time-consuming repair and we understand how frustrating it is for people to be without their phone lines, and thank them for their patience.
“The majority of the work is now complete, and we have engineers working there today to reconnect the last few homes.”
A BT spokesperson said:
“We are sorry to hear that customers on Holmes Lane in Bromsgrove have experienced an issue with their landlines.
“This appears to have resulted from network damage during the recent storms and BT customers have been impacted. We understand that Openreach currently has engineers onsite.
“We appreciate that this has been a difficult and frustrating time for our customers and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Openreach has since confirmed to Nigel Huddleston’s team that maintenance works were successfully carried out on Thursday (February 8), restoring landline service to affected residents.
The maintenance company has travelled door to door to check on residents’ services following the planned works.
Nigel Huddleston MP has also been approached for comment.